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New listening impressions of Stax C32 prototype and Shipping SR-009 - Page 8

post #106 of 1512

Dear El Doug

   If the C32 sounds like HE90, would you consider Aristaeus instead of Woo WES and the waiting time is around 3-4 months as promised

by Justin but I don't know in the real life situation.

post #107 of 1512

Though I have heard the Aristaeus and HEV90, I have not heard them in the same listening session as the WES - perhaps I should set up a minimeet with Larry, and we can determine the answer to that :) 

 

As for the wait time... I don't trust it, but I can't say for sure
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiertijai View Post

Dear El Doug

   If the C32 sounds like HE90, would you consider Aristaeus instead of Woo WES and the waiting time is around 3-4 months as promised

by Justin but I don't know in the real life situation.

post #108 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHADYMILKMAN View Post

whats up with the machining on the earcups by the connector, it seems to be incomplete. will the housing be as tight as it is on the O2MKII. seems to me like the enclosures need some finishing, could just be the prototyping.


Yeah I agree with this, they don't look finished at all, but as you point out they are prototypes.

 

The cups them selves have a serious look of high quality about them, but the headband assembly looks grafted on as a short term solution.

 

If they are going to be charging the sort of prices discussed, they need to make this one look perfect too, but Stax have never really had that philosophy.

 

The SR007 seemed to be a step in the right direction this would be going back. I know, I know, looks aren't that important, but a truly great product has it all.

post #109 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

The more interesting question in my opinion is if there will also be a new top range amplifier from STAX to pair these with. 



I agree.  And I can't see how a great new amp can be difficult, compared to the headphone technology itself.

post #110 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

So how much more than the Sr007mkII do you think this would actually cost Stax to produce?

 

Where did this "double the price, no three times the price, no six times the price!" line of speculation come from?

 

It doesn't actually seem to make a lot of sense to me.

 

It all came from the video interview which was conducted with the chief technical officer of Stax ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKTuBjI4Cp4 ). My wife was kind enough to go through the video with me because I am nowhere near strong enough in Japanese to follow the talk in detail.

 

Anyway, the gist is:

 

  • Goal was to create a new electrode for 50 years of stax
  • Ideally want a stiff electrode but
  • 1. Too thin an electrode cause residual vibration (bad)
  • 2. Too thick an electrode (stator plates) causes too much air resistance through the perforations (bad)
  • This time the electrode is made of three perforated metal plates (manufacturing by etching process)
  • The three layers are fused under high temperature and pressure which yields a thin but stiff electrode
  • Soundwise, you can clearly hear the difference with a "powerful" sound
  • The demerit of the new electrode is manufacturing cost which stems from 2 main reasons:
  • 1. It takes three etched metal plates to manufacture the new electrode (usually only 1 layer?!)
  • 2. The special tool for fusing the 3 layers is very expensive such that total cost of manufacturing of the electrode is 5 to 10x higher than traditional ones

 

Now, does that explain the expected doubling in price compared to the Omega 2? I am not sure. But the frame is machined aluminum so some cost must go in there as well. Finally, the Stax person clearly mentions this is a statement product, not in the same class as the Omega2, so I guess part of the pricing strategy might also go with that... Sad but expected given that the competition has been releasing "inferior" (imo!) products in the 1500USD-3000USD range... However, I can't imagine Stax sell 2000 units a year at 6kUSD a piece!



  The stators of the  new design certainly looks like a throwback to the Omega, i.e. the very thin mesh, strengthened with spokes.  But that design proved faulty, since evidently the two parts tended to separate, hence the 007's.  However it looks like someone at Stax just didn't want to give up on the Omega reinforced mesh stator design.   I hope that Stax has really got it right this time, but any return to an older failed technology makes one wonder how long the new model will hold together. While I realize that any company's advertising must be taken with a grain of salt Stax has already stated that they had the best stators in the 007A after the problems with the original Omega.

 

"SR-007 MK2 is the flagship model that aims to achieve the peak among STAX electrostatic speakers. They possess strong drive power in respect to the diaphragm due to the provision of an area in which there are no holes whatsoever on the outer ring of the electrodes (fixed poles) that were completed after an extended process of design and productions of prototypes".  ""

http://www.stax.co.jp/Export/SR007mk2.html

 

This implied to me that they had made an advance over the Omega driver when they put out the 007's.  Now they seem to be saying that fine mesh is best but it needs reinforcing, but that creates cost issues and makes one wonder about the reliability.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

i would suspect that if Stax finds that to them, this headphone is the best thing they've ever done they will consider the price to go along with that, but it would be a shame for them to presume that and then be wholeheartedly wrong when people who have heard the SR Omega and Omega 2 unanimously start preferring the older flagships.  My guess is in the 4-5k range, but if it is lower than 4 they will ultimately make more money as more people will buy them. 


By the time I post, you guys had already answered everything, oh well. ;). 

 

DavidMalher, I know I may be biased by the new toy syndrome / high-end look of the C32 but from my experience, the C32 is really better than the Omega 2 mkII. I can't imagine a unanimous preference for the older guys. Of course, some of that may have been due to the mkII defaults and maybe ease of drive of the C32 (such that it wouldn't be as much of a jump when using a better amp than 727A). But I still expect the C32 to outshine the Omegas when driven by a top amp and fed by high end source. Who knows, the difference might be even more stunning?

 

Given people are ready to spend 3kUSD for an Edition 10 which, imo, does not sound anywhere near that price level, I can easily imagine people justifying a 5kUSD spending for the C32.



 

Seems  like a classic engineering conundrum, we've got this great product but it costs a bundle to make.   I would think that especially in the current time of economic downturn if Stax puts the price too high it simply won't sell enough units to pay for itself.  I mean I can't just go to the bank anymore and refinance the house to take out some cash for new toys.

 

We also forget that there is a history of prices going down on Stax products.  I paid a lot more for an early 404 than they were selling towards the end of the product lifetime, i.e. before the new Lambdas became available.  It seemed that even the 007's were about 3K at one point yet I bought mine  a few years ago for $1,800.00.

 

So assuming the new design is as good as it seems and  meets the test of reliability, it too may come down in price.

 

In my opinion, the 007A's benefit from one or more of Spritzer's mods, but I don't think many people have tried these.  Also all Stax phones seem to scale up well, i.e. the better the source and amps, the better they sound.  I recall the experience of listening  to the BHSE with different phones at Canjam in LA.  The advantages of the 007A over the Sigma/404 as regards detail and frequency response became much less obvious with this very good amp, making ita draw between these two phones.    But the 007A never showed the openness of the Sigma/404, One may find similar issues between the C32 and 007, i.e. the better the amplification, the old designs start to sound a lot better and close the gap in performance between the new and old designs.

post #111 of 1512

I like this hobby - a lot...but I can't see myself ever dropping the coin on a set of cans/amp that costs as much as a brand new motorcycle.  Priorities!

post #112 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

The more interesting question in my opinion is if there will also be a new top range amplifier from STAX to pair these with. 



I agree.  And I can't see how a great new amp can be difficult, compared to the headphone technology itself.


One would certainly think so, but Stax always seems to find a way to screw something up with their amps.

post #113 of 1512

Why talk about price at all? Nothing will change. Better spend that effort complaining about something else. Might as well complain about the price of yachts, I can't afford those either, but I don't make a big deal about it.

post #114 of 1512


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry I View Post

I have the Mk 1 version of the O2s.  I have only heard them with the tube energerizer/amp from Stax and the BHSE I recently acquired.  I like the BHSE: it is very fast, clear, robust sounding (deep, powerful bass) and more dynamic than the Stax amp, but it does not fundamentally alter the tonal balance of the headphone and the slightly "cold" sound.  I have not tried the BHSE with older EL34 output tubes; I have access to a pretty good range of alternatives that a friend has offered to give to me.

 

I should also mention that the phones are extremely sensitive to upstream components and the "cold" sound is largely dependent on the rest of the component stream.  When I first heard my phones at the dealership, the CD source was an Audionote (uk) DAC-5 signature DAC fed by a 47Labs Pitracer transport and the linestage was a Kondo M10.  The sound was warmer and better balanced than my current setup (Naim CD555 feeding an Emotive Audio Epifania linestage).  But, I really like the sound my system delivers with my speakers, so, it is a matter of balancing compromises.  I have also run the phones from my other linestage, which I have kept for really no good reason (Levinson No. 32), and the sound is even colder than with the Epifania.  The Epifania is an all tube unit and the Levinson is solid state that is on the somewhat darker and deader sounding side of the solid state spectrum.  I wonder what those people with cooler sounding gear think of these phones? 

 

One interesting thing I noticed about the BHSE driving the O2 phones when listening to vinyl is that mild ticks don't exactly sound like a "tick' but more like a "tink" -- as though glass has been struck.  I was surprised to hear that distinctive resonant signature, though it doesn't really detract from the sound.

 

I should make it clear that, overall, I like the O2 phones, particularly with the BHSE, but there are things about the sound I would like to be different -- a warmer midbass response and a slightly less peaky upper midrange would be really nice.


I'm curious what cartridge you are running? With my Blue Hawaii and Omega 2 Mk1, they are definitely ticks and not "tink", ticks sound the same on the HE60 as well.

post #115 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

I like this hobby - a lot...but I can't see myself ever dropping the coin on a set of cans/amp that costs as much as a brand new motorcycle.  Priorities!

 

I heard that.  Speed>Sound for me.  Unless it's the speed of sound.  tongue_smile.gif  I'm scared to hear these though.  Keep telling myself I only need my ESP950 as my only Stat phone.  cool.gif
 


Edited by Anaxilus - 1/6/11 at 1:17pm
post #116 of 1512

J-Pak,

 

I am using a Transfiguration Orpheus L (low output).  I am beginning to suspect that the sound I am hearing is from my phonostage and not the headphone/amp combination.  While I did not hear that sound before with the Stax amp/energizer, I did not do that much listening to phono with the Stax (a problem with the Stax volume control meant I could not run it wide open and I barely have enough gain even with the BHSE).  Perhaps, with the greater volume and the extreme clarity of the new amp, I am just noticing what the phonostage is doing (though I don't hear that "tink" sound with my speakers). 

 

Last night I was listening to a CD with small sharp impulses that were akin to a record's ticks, and they did not have that "tink" sound I described.  That has got me wondering about the source of the sound.  In any event, it is not really a big deal.

post #117 of 1512


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry I View Post

J-Pak,

 

I am using a Transfiguration Orpheus L (low output).  I am beginning to suspect that the sound I am hearing is from my phonostage and not the headphone/amp combination.  While I did not hear that sound before with the Stax amp/energizer, I did not do that much listening to phono with the Stax (a problem with the Stax volume control meant I could not run it wide open and I barely have enough gain even with the BHSE).  Perhaps, with the greater volume and the extreme clarity of the new amp, I am just noticing what the phonostage is doing (though I don't hear that "tink" sound with my speakers). 

 

Last night I was listening to a CD with small sharp impulses that were akin to a record's ticks, and they did not have that "tink" sound I described.  That has got me wondering about the source of the sound.  In any event, it is not really a big deal.


 

That is still a bit strange that the phono is causing that high frequency ringing. I have been through a few of them, and none have exhibited that behavior with the O2 Mk1. In fact I prefer to listen to analog with the O2s it just sounds so right on my setup. I have to agree the O2/BH is brutally revealing, when I added a step up transformer for the phono the degradation in sound quality was obvious on this setup, but barely noticeable on my Maggies.

 

I had a Naim CD555 on loan from a friend, terrific CD player and mated really well with the O2/BH as well. Probably my favorite CD source.

 

I realized I haven't updated my profile since the switch, but I'm using a Pass Labs Pearl phono. It's such a pain to do even the most medial task on Huddler-Fi.

post #118 of 1512

J-Pak,

 

I am really not certain of the source of the resonance, but in any case, it is quite a minor issue--more in the nature of a tone to minor ticks, but not an increase in prominence of the noise.  I also like analogue through headphones BECAUSE ticks and pops seem to go by so fast (little resonant overhang) that they are LESS obtrusive over phones than over speakers.

 

I am interested in any possible improvement from a new flagship headphone, although I don't know of any place where I can borrow the set to try in my own system.  I don't plan on auditioning them through a > $100,000 linestage like I did with the O2s. 

post #119 of 1512

Arnaud,

 

Did you get to speak to Stax sale rep on what maybe the retail price of the C32?  

post #120 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post

Arnaud,

 

Did you get to speak to Stax sale rep on what maybe the retail price of the C32?  


That's THE question of this thread :-).... Right now that and the release date are all i care about with regard to this headphone:) No one seems to know for sure.......theres a huge ball park of estimations 3,000 - 7,000 USD and could be as early as Spring or late 2012.

 

Etc

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